Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kuala Niah to Kuala Suai Recce by the Guys 02nd Nov 08

The guys being : Musa Musbah, Kong Lih-Shan and Amer Matridi.

The objective : To get the low down on the terrain between Kuala Niah - Kuala Suai in preparation for the December Long Walk taking place 25th Dec- 01st Jan.

They drove from the Sepupok Bridge Coastal Road junction to Kuala Niah and cycled to Kuala Suai and back on the beach, 60km in all! Where there's no beach (ie. river) they lugged their bikes with them and wade the waters. They started 0900 hrs and cambe drove back in dark around 1900 hrs.

These are Sarawakian Rivers mind you, where crocodile legends are made of! Brave lads! There are more than 20 small rivers to cross, and crossed them they did. No crocs, no seasnakes ... only pesky rays on the sandy river bottoms. They came back in one piece, albeit a bit tanned and slightly sore butts ... none worse for wear. Apparently the bikes are already rusting away at their respective homes.

What they found out:
1. A few river crossings, manageable at low tides. Unable to confirm presence of nasty crocs ...
2. First 15 kms is a bit monotonous being cultivated land.
3. There are villages (a few house) before Kuala Suai and across the river.
4. Several abandoned huts along the way. Temporary shelter for the farmers planting seasonal tembikais and the like.
5. There is a small grocery shop at Kuala Suai ... they carry Coca-cola and biscuits. The proprietor promised to stock up bottled water for us.
6. There's a Sarawak Forestry house being taken care of by one of the villagers, we have permission to use it if we need to.
7. They'll even supply us with home-cooked meals for a small fee.
8. Crossing Sungai Suai will not be a problem, they are boats at the far end of the jetty.
9. Second 15kms is a bit more forested, right up the beach.
10. The area is mostly Oil Palm plantations, plenty of Indonesians ... working the plantations most of the time. Picnicking on the beach on Sundays and off-days. According to a UNDP report, 21 % of the populations in the Niah-Suai area are Indonesian plantation workers.
11. Communications ... no coverage. Satellite phones needed.
12. Mozzies may be a problem at night.

Other interesting bits:
1. Cute smallish plovers seen on the beach ... Malaysian Plovers???
2. Fishing using plastics might be fun at the estuaries.
3. A large wader-type bird spotted near one estuary ... could be my dream bird : Beach Thick-knee??? Several other waders (types unknown) were also spotted.
4. A growling mammal was also heard near the forested area. Nobody went to check it out. Possibly a wild boar or clouded leopard (which have been reported by some villagers).

Last access point for support vehicle would be near the Kuala Niah point. Access to Suai from this route is strictly by foot, bicycle or 4WD at very low tides ... even then it'll involve several small river crossings.

Point to ponder : Emergency escape route, communications link, load to carry from Sibuti homestay.

Would a stout heart, great sense of adventure and a silent prayer be sufficient to get to Suai from Niah in one piece on foot?

Well done, boys! Anyone else feeling adventurous?


Kumareson said...

I read Musa's report on the trio's 2-wheel adventure. Those fellas are real troopers!

nabghani said...

the are aren't they, someone has to pay me to wade across any Sarawakian River!